WHO IS PAPA FRANCESCO? THE TEXT OF RADIO LINEA INTERVIEW.
8 Settembre 2020
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, as you will recall, some time ago Radio Linea interviewed me on the Church and the Pope. Some of you have asked me if it would be possible to have the text of the interview, so I spent some time writing down the essential points of the conversation, and correcting a few errors that escaped my notice in the heat of the interview. Happy reading!
The first question by Beatrice Silenzi was: Who is Pope Francis? There are those who deeply love him, other who do not support him. Among other things, he is a person who definitely has had a great impact on the general public including non-Catholics, right from the moment of his election – Thanks to his way of introducing himself with that simple “Buona sera,” he was immediately a personality. Let’s just say he is someone who is “outside the box,” if you want. And so I ask myself, is he really such a controversial figure like some people want us to believe?
Marco Tosatti: He is extremely controversial for a whole number of reasons. We ought to start by making something clear. Being Catholic means believing in a series of things; no one is obligated to be Catholic, but, for example, if I belong to a golf club I ought to follow the rules of golf; if I don’t then I ought to not be part of the golf club. Many people outside the Church who love Pope Francis love him because he has very little Catholic content in what he says. This is the reality. Pope Francis is a very media-savvy pope, and he is a very nice and likeable pope, above all in his dealing with journalists and mass media.
But I would like to turn the conversation to the topic of Catholicism, because the real problem is here. For a couple of centuries now, and in particular the last 30-40 years, two great visions of the world have clashed. One is a purely secular vision, a vision we may say in which the general culture is progressive, leftist, pro-abortion; a culture that is highly individualistic and that seeks to advance a culture in which the individual who is already born and in good health and rich counts for everything. On the other hand we have a counter-culture, a more traditional culture if you will, in which the individual exists, the family exists as an aggregating group to be defended and protected, in which values exist, and so forth.
So, I have made the above explanation in order to briefly tell you that we have on the one hand the world of mass media and finance which supports this “progressive” culture. And on the other hand there is something else. This “something else” was in large part the Catholic Church as long as John Paul II and Benedict XVI were among us, and the Catholic Church made a counter-cultural proposal with respect to the predominant message of the mass media. With Bergoglio this counter-cultural discourse ceased, and this is why Bergoglio has the great sympathy of many people who are neither Christian nor Catholic, as well as of many people who saw John Paul II and Benedict XVI as smoke in the eyes, not as persons but because they advanced an argument in cultural contrast with the type of world in which we are living today.
This is the overall picture. So we have Bergoglio who is always saying things about migrants, and – what a coincidence! – migrants and NGOs are the great cause of international finance, Soros, the left, and so forth. He talks about ecology, but – how strange! – ecology with all of its great contradictions is another cause championed by the world. He speaks very little about the family, and he speaks very little about a whole series of other things. This is the lay of the land. And so Bergoglio as pope is renouncing what has always been the counter-cultural position of the Church for the last thirty years. And what was this position based on? Not on the whims of the most recent popes, but on the Catholic faith. This is, very briefly, the general picture. People are also enchanted by the fact that Bergoglio smiles, but this is not the truth – in fact he is a tough, ruthless, vindictive man. But everyone believes the story told by the sugary sweet media, because people have no other way of understanding and knowing the truth.
Question: What will happen if Benedict dies?
The resignation of Benedict was absolutely unprecedented in modern times; it has created a gigantic confusion, and God knows if it was really necessary. The true problem is the question of why he resigned: it was said that it was because he was tired and very weak, but here we are now, over seven years since he resigned, and he is still there, and he writes and speaks; and when it seems to him that there are truly things being done in the Church that are too big or that are maturing within this strange Church in which nothing is understood anymore, he talks and speaks.
I believe that Pope Francis is legitimate. And on this point there is no doubt: he was elected, his election and the voting was not contested by any cardinal. I think however that, notwithstanding all this, Benedict is still fully pope [tutto ancora papa], given that he dresses in white, and even Francis calls him “Holiness.”
When he dies, nothing will change. And when Francis dies, also nothing will change, in the sense that I do not believe that Benedict, after having resigned, would ever return to his previous situation. There will be another conclave. Unfortunately, however, what is real is the state of absolutely extraordinary confusion that originated with the resignation of Benedict XVI.
After that, I don’t know. There is no doubt that the Church is living through times of confusion and an extraordinary crisis. As a journalist I enjoy my work because it is interesting to be a witness to these times. Then there are further metaphysical considerations which indicate that we are approaching the end times, but these are other matters that I will leave to the visionaries, to those who have particular experiences. There are several who say so. And perhaps this is not such a strange thing, because if you consider the reality of the world today from the metaphysical point of view, two very strongly opposed visions of life appear.
Question about Islam and Pachamama.
In the Gospel and in Saint Paul we read that there is no other name other than the name of Christ in which we can be saved. We need to begin from the presupposition that this life is not everything, that there is a much longer life that begins in the moment when you die in the body, and that at this point you can either be saved…or not saved. These are, let us say, the base coordinates.
It is not a question of being integralist or non-integralist. Either you believe it, and then you are a Catholic, or you say that you can be saved in some other way, and then you are not a Catholic. A Christian, a Catholic, cannot think that Jesus Christ saves you just like Buddha does. What sense would this have?
So you can say, “I am going to a supermarket and I will choose the type of salvation that is perhaps more comfortable for me, the one that makes me have more of what I want”…What sense would this have? If something saves, and it really saves, save only that.
And it is not the first time that these things sort of happen. As Saint Paul wrote: If I myself or someone else should present a different Gospel from that of Jesus Christ, he lies, let him be anathema; that is, he is telling me lies. Saint Paul said this two thousand years ago, and thus it is not a problem that is new to 2020. If someone believes the Gospel, he is a Christian. If he does not believe the Gospel, which is absolutely legitimate, he is something else.
Question: Don’t these openings go back to John Paul II?
What is the difference? There are two ways of operating that are very different. On the one hand you have a pope who said: Open wide the doors to Christ, indeed, throw them wide open; and then he said: Those who believe can be brothers all the same without mixing. On the other hand, we now have the Abu Dhabi declaration signed by the pope that says that the diversity of religions is something willed by God.
Look, if you belong to a religion you ought to say so clearly, if not it makes no sense that you wear white, that you are the pope, the Vicar of Christ. If you are the pope you ought to say: it is right that everyone is allowed to believe what he wants, it is right that freedom of thought should be absolutely protected and sacred. But I should also say as pope that the unique salvation that we have is that of believing in Jesus Christ, then others can make their own choices.
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino
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